SK Telecom T1 head coach Choi “cCarter” Byung-hoon says the Korean esports market can reach even higher levels.
The architect of SKT’s League of Legends team talked with Segye Ilbo’s Uhm Hyung-joon following SKT’s sixth League Champions Korea title. He said is aware of the increased amount of investment in esports in the West and China and voiced his hopes that Korea will one day enjoy the same benefit.
“The scale itself is bigger in North America and China, I hear,” he said. “However I think we have better players. Once we play more good games and when it becomes easier to go overseas, I think we’ll get more investments like North America or China and increase the size of the market. I hope it happens that way.”
As a member of SKT’s esports organization before the League team was even conceived, cCarter saw the rise and fall of StarCraft as a global esport. When asked for his analysis of the future of League, he used StarCraft as an example, citing “the (widening) gap between Korean teams and international teams” and the shrinking player base as the reasons why StarCraft fell from grace.
“LoL is popular overseas, and though there is a gap, it’s still in the range where teams can catchup,” he said. “Foreign organizations also get large investments to manage the teams. I think it has a stronger outlook than StarCraft.”
With Korean players still in high demand in various regions, there have been cases of amateur players going straight to other regions to debut. Successful examples such as Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon are often pointed out as a solid reason to follow in their footsteps and the phenomenon isn’t without risks, as cCarter said that “there might be trouble in the virtuous cycle on becoming professionals.”
But he said that the fact that amateurs can look overseas is a net positive and that “going overseas can be a good way to have a large range of experiences and show your talent in a lot of different regions.”